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My thoughts on the world’s biggest problems
My two reactions go together because the two most serious world problems are eco-collapse due to overpopulation and capitalism, and continued barbaric inequality due to capitalism and exacerbated by overpopulation.

Bill Denneen ranks among the wisest around here and I was pleased that he listed global warming seventh in a list of eco-threats that left out nothing I noticed but acid rain (“Just say ‘No’ to motherhood,� June 8). It’s politically correct to mention global warming, but neither acid rain nor anything else on Bill’s list has gone away. I was dismayed that he brought in immigration, though. I think Bill will be first to get my point that there’s only one overswollen global population, and nobody’s immigrating TO the planet.

The headline over Luis Segui’s letter about “Cuban suffering� reflected Luis’s use of the word “suffering� (“Help alleviate Cuba’s suffering,� June 8). Okay. But one can suffer a lack of potato chips, if the store is out. Cubans have suffered rudeness, intrusive violence, and difficulties due to an unjustified blockade—all at the hands of the United States. However, I know Luis agrees with me that Cubans don’t suffer all that much. Their standard of living is generally the highest in Latin America, including East L.A. And that’s not due to charity from the Pastors for Peace. It’s due to the dedication, organizational skills, and excellent intentions of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist Party. If it’s taboo to argue that point on your pages, though I could do it if you asked me, please let me advise your readers to punch just 12 keys on their computers,, to get a thorough and thoroughly objective account of Cuban reality on my web site.

Glen Roberts
Morro Bay

Young people feed the world
Cursory investigation reveals that Bill Denneen’s philosophical war on the species (“Just say ‘No’ to motherhood,� June 8) is based on mistaken information.

The “overpopulation� myth, more than 100 years old, theorized that the hungry mouths of the world were multiplying much faster than our capacity to fill them. However agricultural methods have radically changed since then, and the U.N. now estimates that the Third World alone could support more than four times the population of the planet.

The world now produces more food on less land than ever before. There is a simple reason for this: Human beings are ingeniously inventive. Couples continued to have children despite the “overpopulation� panic, and those children went on to make countless scientific and technical advances that benefited food production, among many other things.

Contrary to doomsayers’ predictions, many nations are now reproducing at “below replacement� rates, so that populations are actually annihilating themselves. The U.N. predicts that, at current rates, every nation but a few African states will be at below-replacement status within 20 years. That might sound like good news to someone anxious about his own food supply, but the truth is: Younger people are the economic fuel of a nation. Without them, we’d best begin fasting now.

The decision to have a child is inherently generous, and, as it turns out, in everyone’s best interests. Generosity often works that way—expanding possibilities—whereas fear limits them. Two days a year are hardly sufficient to honor those couples open to children.

Sheryl Collmer
San Luis Obispo

There’s more than one way to become a parent
Regarding Bill Denneen’s opinion (“Just say ‘No’ to motherhood,� June 8): Over the years, Mr. Denneen has made his point many times, calling attention to the population explosion.

One major fact he is leaving out is that there are many thousands of children that need parents every year—children that need to be adopted.

The annual Non-Mother’s Day celebration, Mr. Denneen says, is meant to educate young women that motherhood is just one of many choices. Mr. Denneen states that there are other choices, such as firefighter, doctor, truck drivers, etc. In all respect, Mr. Denneen, one doesn’t really need to choose motherhood or career.

What’s important, I think, is to educate young women and, please, let’s not forget men, Mr. Denneen. There is more than one way to become a parent.

Being a birth parent, an adoptive parent, and a foster parent is what I love most, although I love my career and husband, too. I encourage people to look into becoming a foster/adoptive parent. You soon find your older children looking into adoption as well as having birth children, for it’s a beautiful way, too, to bring a child into your family and help with the population explosion.

Beverly Johnson
San Luis Obispo

You probably think this guy’s a radical
Thank you, Bill Denneen, for your compassionate plea for individual responsibility regarding the population explosion (“Just say ‘No’ to motherhood,� June 8). Bill Denneen’s point of view will probably be considered controversial in this age of consumerism.

Lori Slater


The Coastal Commission should open Katcho’s eyes
Katcho hasn’t even been sworn in yet as the state’s newest Coastal Commissioner, yet he’s already demonstrated what sort of steward he will be for the public’s coastal resources. On June 6, Katcho joined with a majority of supervisors (Jim Patterson dissenting) to remove a condition on a coastal development permit that would have required the applicant to record a 25-foot Offer to Dedicate (OTD) a public access easement along the beach at China Harbor, on the south end of the Harmony Coast. The area is frequently used by kayakers and surfers.

The Harmony Coast is a critical link in the California Coastal Trail, connecting the Hearst Ranch to the north with the Estero Bluffs State Park to the south. Unfortunately, with the exception of Sea West Ranch, it is almost entirely under private ownership. If the board continues to allow opportunities like this to slip through its fingers, the California Coastal Trail will never be realized. The state has invested millions of dollars in planning for a continuous public coastal trail from Oregon to Mexico, but it is largely up to local officials to implement it.

Apparently Katcho doesn’t share this vision. Let’s hope his service on the Coastal Commission opens his eyes.

Nancy Graves
SLO County coordinator


To the honorable Sam Blakeslee:
Having been in this Los Osos sewer fight for many years now, fighting for an affordable system for our many seniors and low-income citizens, I find we are all tired of this mess that your predecessor and other elected officials have put us in. For whatever reason (little-town mentality, political, etc.), we, the citizens, find this is not an insurmountable project. Your idea of getting everybody in the same room is what is needed.

For years, this is the plan: Go to the planning department, then to the fish and game department, then to the Coastal Commission, then to the E.S.H.A. people, etc.—back and forth by those that can’t make a decision or are deal killers. What a waste of at least five years’ time. This plant could have been built by this time. If these civil servants are so-called experts in their respected fields and heads of their agencies, then why can’t we get a very rough go-ahead direction of their requirements right on the spot (no long answers, just “yes� or “no,� etc.)? Yes, there would be “subject to’s� but, gad, in a matter of a few days, a week or so, we would be on our way.

It appears they don’t want to put their feet to the fire when it’s required or it’s job preservation or are mean and just like to see many people squirm. We, who have paid our dues, taxes, and the many who have served this country to preserve our way of life and laws from dictators, deserve better from our civil servants and elected officials. In other words, get off your ass and do what’s right for the people who elected you and pay your salary. This will be your last chance to be a hero, good guy, or earn your keep.

Climb on board Mr. Blakesee’s plan for brokering this wastewater/clean-water project. While you’re at it, look into hooking up Morro Bay, Cayucos, Cuesta College, and anything else that empties into this beautiful bay. I understand there is grant money for a regional plan, but not for a little town. Deal or no deal, good servant/bad servant—it’s up to you.

 As usual, I thank you—I think. Remember: Election time is coming.

Ben Difatta
Los Osos

Bush is greedy and flippant
 Bush, looking like a terrified rabbit, enters Iraq riding in a helicopter with an armed soldier standing watch in the doorway. I hope he was wearing Depends.

 After Bush’s return from Iraq, he struts and jokes like he just won the Super Bowl while thousands of people are suffering because of the hell of the Iraqi war. Dead troops, wounded troops and their families are not celebrating.

 Nor is the suffering of Iraqis a fun day at Disneyland. This war is serious stuff, no matter your views about it. He should have been humbled, not crowing and joking. This President is better suited for the Comedy Channel than the Office of President.

 Also: Jordan supplied a lot of the intelligence that helped us to find Al-Zarqawi, yet not one word of credit did Bush give to the Jordanians for their help. He hogged it all for himself. Oink!

Sharon Eckardt
Los Osos


The Count needs to count on you
 I wholeheartedly support the continued support of NPR and PBS by the federal government. The current push by President Bush and Republican members of Congress to slash funding for programs like “Sesame Street,â€? etc., and not cut outright giveaways to corporations and the wealthy is shameful. Can Sesame Street’s Count count on you to let your congressperson know that you want the funding to stay?

Rob Sexton
San Luis Obispo

Farm animals are warming the globe
 Al Gore’s riveting documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, has focused public attention on the looming disaster of global warming and the associated flooding of coastal communities, extreme weather conditions, and destruction of wildlife habitats. Global warming is brought on by emission of “greenhouse gasesâ€?, primarily carbon dioxide and the much more potent methane and nitrous oxide. These gases trap the sun’s heat in our atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect.

 Most of us blame automotive and industrial emissions. But animal agriculture is a major culprit as well. It emits carbon dioxide from the burning of forests to create animal pastures and from combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms, and slaughterhouses. It emits methane from the digestive tracts of cattle and nitrous oxide from animal waste cesspools.

 According to a recent University of Chicago study, a meat-free diet reduces greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide per year—as much as switching from an SUV to a hybrid car.

 Folks who care about the future of life on Earth would be well advised to consider switching to a meat-free diet even before they switch to a hybrid car.

Seamus McNabb
San Luis Obispo

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